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Visitors to gaming and tech sites such as Gizmodo, IGN, Verge, Machinima, Twitch and more will get an old school treat with a modern-day twist. EA Games has released a series of mini-banner ads that spike the action on classic Atari games Asteroids, Centipede and Mission Control. Instead of the game's original wimpy guns, the interactive ads allow players to attack their enemies with extra firepower, courtesy of a Titan, the centerpiece of the publisher's much-anticipated title Titanfall, which drops tomorrow March 11.
The games, which also live on a permanent home at www.titanfallarcade.com, replicate in 8-bit what the title promises on a grander scale, by providing players with a new shooter mode that allows them to fight alongside or operate a Titan, a 20-foot tall mech that drops out of the sky to assist them when needed. The idea brings a new angle to the shooting game framework and plays out in other elements of the marketer's multiplatform campaign, including broadcast and additional online initiatives. The campaign was created out of EA's agency Heat, San Francisco.
Even before the campaign launch, Titanfall had already generated considerable excitement among its core gamer demographic, given the new gameplay protocol and the pedigree of its developer Respawn Entertainment, whose founders Jason West and Vince Zampella were former Infinity Ward execs who oversaw the development on Activision's Call of Duty.
"This is the game that promises to deliver to gamers on every vector," said Carolyn Feinstein, SVP-global consumer marketing at EA Games. "A moment like this doesn't come along often, so when it does, you really want to create a campaign that meets the opportunity of the product. What we set out to do was bind the consumer to this experience emotionally and make good on the excitement they already have."
Ms. Feinstein is keynoting Ad Age's Digital Conference April 1-2 in New York City.
"There was a lot of hype, a lot of expectations around this game, but when we talked to Respawn, they just wanted to make a game that was fun," said Heat Creative Director Warren Cockrel. "And we wanted the campaign to be really fun too, so that drove all the creative components. In the TV there is a spirit that is unexpectedly fun, and with the old school arcade, you wouldn't expect to launch this game with a brand new IP in this way, but gamers love it."
The Titan-ified games were created with production company Unit9 and through a partnership with Atari. The campaign also features 30- and 60-second comedic spots, directed by Wayne McClammy of Hungry Man. Centered on the idea of a "twisted musical," they show a young man walking down a street with a skip in his step and a permanent grin on his face, illustrating the kind of confidence afforded when you have a 20-foot tall mech watching your back.
Users can also get in on the action themselves at http://www.dropatitan.com/, home to a GIF generator that allows them Titan-bomb something they find bothersome -- and then share with their friends through social media. Online media partners such as FunnyOrDie, College Humor and SB Nation have also been tapped to create their own Titan GIFs to help promote.